Sunday, September 30, 2012

NEW YORK STORIES/ Rose and Citrus Color Trend

Photography: Kat Teutsch
Photography: Kat Teutsch
Photography: Kat Teutsch
Photography: Kat Teutsch
Photography: Kat Teutsch
Photography: Kat Teutsch

In our continuing series of narrative stories based and inspired by New York women, Photographer Kat Teutsch and I got together a couple of weekends ago and shot the next in our batch. This time Goldie Rose Smyth was born. These shoots are produced as a result of meeting or observing from afar the array of characters here, Constantly I am inspired by just a glimpse of someone on the street who you know has a long story to tell. New York is famous for it's eccentric personalities and thankfully the city is still full of them!  

Here is Goldie Rose's story, It went like this: 

Goldie Rose Smyth, born August 23rd 1946
Goldie Rose grew up in Sunnyvale, Texas, in the 1970’s she moved to Queens, NY, moving to Long Island City. Born and bred American, Goldie quickly got employed in Manhattan as a Secretary for a very busy Law Firm. She was had a solid chiseled kind of beauty and in her day her look was all cats eyes and larger than life brassy hair. A look she still keeps. 

She’s not much of a traveler but has collected mementos from her vacations, largely spent in Florida or Mexico, Still Single, In her late 60’s now, Goldie Rose is largely retired but still pulls in a bit of Book Keeping from home from her old boss’s son, Gary. She usually sticks to an all fruit diet to keep her weight down but can’t resist feeding her leftover office addiction of donuts. Since 1979 Goldie Rose has smoked her first pipe, swapping her Menthols for her signature orange pipe. One thing not many people know is Goldie Rose is also a champion roller skater and still likes to skate in Central Park on Sundays when the weather is good. 

It's really fun to get into the mind of an imaginary person, Maybe it's a bit eccentric of me? I do know however Kat and I get a kick out of having a narrative to work from and the possibilities are endless, Watch out for some more of our ladies! 

Thanks to again Prop Workshop for helping us with the wonderful backgrounds  and some props at a generous discount. 

Studio Marcus Hay SALE!

Left: Mykl Cummins, My trusty Assistant helped me on the day, Right: Wares to be had!
Photography: Marcus Hay

So many wares, So many friends! Even Winni's Dad all the way from Birmingham, England
Photography: Mykl Cummins and Marcus Hay

Photography: Mykl Cummins

Photography: Mykl Cummins

Yesterday we were blessed with no rain, even though all day it looked overcast and impending. The London Terrace Street Fair happens every year and thankfully I had a space on the street just outside my office. This year I was actually in town for once so it seemed a good opportunity to flog my wares and cleanse the ever over flowing prop annex of it's overstock.

It was a really wonderful way of meeting some very interesting people and we got a really great response, Thank you so much for my Assistant Mykl who came despite being sick with the flu, He was a champ and quite the salesman! 

Thanks also for all that popped in and said hello, Hope to see you again there next year! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Inspiring Icons/ Greta Magnusson Grossman

Left: Greta at her desk, 1959, Right: Her series of Cobra and Grasshopper lamps available at DWR

Some of Greta's Silhouettes, Including her Cobra lamp in Blue/ Gray, Upholstered Chemold Chair, Disk
laminate coffee table by Glenn of California "Good Design" chairs in blue upholstery, 1952, Desk Grasshopper
and Side table in walnut produced by Glenn of California
Left: Portrait of Greta in the 1940's Right: Writing Desk for Glenn of California, 1952
Pic courtesy of 20th Century Archives
Left: Three paneled folding screen, Walnut frame with painted wood balls on piano string, produced by
Glenn of California, Right: Writing desk, Cobra and Cone lamp and "Good Design" chair, 1952
Left: Stump wood "Ironing Board" coffee table, produced by Glenn of California, 1952
Right: Chair for Sherman Bertram, Photo courtesy of
Glenn of California desk Left: Photo by 20th Century Archives Right: The same desk in walnut
Left: Dresser for Glenn of California, Right: Interior of one of her houses
Photography: Anne Cusak for Los Angles Times
A collection of Greta's lamps
From Danish company Gubi website, Left: Once again a portrait of Greta at her desk a old image of her Cobra lamp

I have been pining after a Greta Magnusson Grossman lamp for some time, particularly her grasshopper floor lamp; I have just the corner for it! Thankfully Design Within Reach has for some time now been stocking some of her lighting design’s since being put back into production for many years, by Danish company Gubi so perhaps my wish may come true?! Gubi are also producing some of her furniture designs also which is super exciting!

In an era where too few women garnered public acclaim for their design and architectural talents, Greta Grossman (1906-1999) pushed through and gained acclaim both in Sweden and then in America particularly in the 1950’s after she and her husband, Billy Grossman migrated in 1940, settling in Los Angeles where she opened her store Magnusson-Grossman Studio, on Rodeo Drive in 1940, which was popular with clients like Greta Garbo, Joan Fontaine and Gracie Allen. Some of her pieces, like the Cobra Lamp, designed in 1950 for Ralph O. Smith and her 1952 Desk with Storage for Glen of California, have become icons of California modern. Original pieces now fetch an incredible amount due to their rarity.

She also designed as many as 14 homes, several remain but more than half have unfortunately been demolished, In the late 1960’s however she just kind of dropped out of the design and architecture scene and retired.

I love the simplicity but humor (without being too obvious) about her design, I hope you grow to appreciate her contribution to Design in the 20th Century and now all over again.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Freedom Furniture/ Facebook

It was so nice to be asked by Lexi Campbell-Kentmann who is the PR whiz for Freedom Furniture to be a part of their Facebook page.

Lexi asked me to recommend 10 of my current favorite Freedom products and of course I was more than happy to oblige, Freedom helped me out many a time back in my Styling days in Sydney, Australia and while now in New York, I can't exactly pop into a store I can admire them from afar via their website.

Freedom Furniture has been in the market in Australia since 1981and has a chain of 79 stores across Australia and NZ. My own mother actually was a Decorator for them for a period so I have a long connection in one way or another with the company. 

Lexi in her own right also has her own very amusing bog at Check it out, It's a great read,  Her blog is about motherhood but also a conversation about homes, fashion, craft, past-times and wit

Here are my recommendations: 

1. Charter Cushion, You can’t go wrong with some classic French mattress ticking, Always seems fresh, Don’t be shy to mix it in with some pattern for an eclectic mix.

2. Handwork Patch Floor Rug, Always a sucker for blue, this is great to anchor a floor but also feels chic and a little boho at the same time.

3. Vetro Glass Cloche with Plate, how fun are these for display, change them out with the season, use as an instant Terrarium or show off a fave object, Looks great as a series on a sideboard.

4. Tre Table Lamp, Classic practical lines, perfect for task lighting

5. Wavelength Coffee Table, Weightless legs work well in a small space, Gives the illusion of more space, Has a great airy modern quality

6. Beach Road Dining table (The longer one in particular) Great casual feel but with structure, great to double as a workspace down one end, eating the other

7. Pier Rope Mirror, one for the Beach Shack but just as elegant above a console in the dining room

8. Spanish Recycled Carafe, Love the hand blown nature of these carafes, look great in an Entryway or on a large dining table as a centre piece.

9. Co-Op Dining chair, I love the simple lines of this chair, great in any environment but especially around a large dining table

10. Epoch Clock, Simple and schoolhouse like, easy to read the time and works anywhere

For all of my Australian friends, I hope you like my recommendations and can go in-store to 
see them for yourself! 

You can also follow Freedom on Facebook yourself at Freedom/ Facebook 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Inspiring Icons/ Tapio Wirkkala

Left: Tapio Wirkkala in his later years, Right: One of his organically formed vases, The Kanttarelli vase for Iittala 
A collection of  his glass silhouettes including the Ultima Thule bowls, pitcher and glasses
in their distinctive icicle shapes

Left: Tapio in his studio in the 1950's, Right: Dish with compartments, Hopeakeskus
Pictures courtesy of 

Some of Tapio's furniture designs including a X Frame dining table, 1958, coffee tables and drinks cart

Laminated birch wood forms, Left: Platter, designed in 1951, Right: Bowl designed in 1954

Left: Pollo vases, designed for Rosenthal, 1970, Right: Venini Murano Coreani bowl, 1960's
Pictures courtesy of 

Left: Variatsion Coffee Set for Rosenthal, Right: Paperbag vase for Rosenthal, 1977
Pictures courtesy of 

Some of Tapio's glass vases from the 1950's-1980's

White ceramic vases produced for Rosenthal

Other glass forms, Left to Right: Olive green vase for Iittala, Bolle bottles for Venini and vase for Iittala

Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) might be a difficult name for some to remember, but if familiar with his work it soon becomes unforgettable! Many of us grew up with his designs without probably even knowing. I know as I started to collect his work as an adult, I remembered some of the glass pieces he produced for well-known Finnish company Iittala that my parents had, (probably long given away to charity along with many other mid century classics)

I always knew Tapio as a glassware designer mainly, but I have come to learn he also fashioned many pieces from wood and also used this material to produce furniture and even the designed the Finnish bank notes, introduced in 1955. His range was immense and in Finland he is probably known as their most famous, versatile and influential designer evoking a national identity in his work by drawing on the materials and processes of Finnish handicraft and naturalistic forms

Among his most famous works has been the design for the Finlandia vodka bottle (1970-2000) and for Iittala's Ultima Thule set of kitchen glasses. Both glassware items feature a dripping icicle look, and in the case of Iittala's popular glassware set it took thousands of hours to develop a glassblowing technique that would produce the effect. He also produced his glass bird series that have become extremely collectable. 

I am lucky enough to own a number of his ceramics he designed for German company Rosenthal.

An amazing designer, I love the delicacy and texture of his work, To me there is a thread and distinct approach that is only his, To be such a successful commercial designer and to have produce such distinctive products with such personality is to be admired, I hope to collect many more of his pieces in the future.

A great source is a website devoted to his career, Check out

Monday, September 10, 2012

Good Housekeeping/ Pasta Meals

Photography: Kate Mathis

Photography: Kate Mathis

Photography: Kate Mathis

Photography: Kate Mathis

Taking a different approach this month for Good Housekeeping, The brief for this story on Pasta was to simplify on the propping and keep the palette neutral. As magazines ever evolve with their approach and layout, this story is a result of re-looking at the regular format and changing it up. I have been styling stories for the magazine for a few years now, it's always nice to be able to reinvent a regular section and re invigorate it. Usually the stories in the past were a bit more themed, layered with a more distinct color palette.

Usually some magazines can shy away from too many over the head shots, perhaps it's seen as too graphic, Personally I always like them. This time we were also able to incorporate a lot more of these airiel views of the food. 

The propping was a lot more simple and I was able to use some really lovely textured linens and hand spun ceramics.

The story was shot with the ever talented Kate Mathis, Hope you enjoy!..Carb up! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Inspiring Icons/ David Gil

Left: A portrait of Davis Gil in his studio, Right: Fish Plaque

Many plaques designed by David, I am lucky to own at least one of these great designs each

Left: Spark White vase, Right: The very collectable Lugged bowl 

Left: Bull Bank, Model 1601, Photography:, Right: Trigger mug in Teal

Left: One of the many Bennnington Potters stamps, Right: Two plate designs by David Gil,
Photography: Monki Vintage, click for link, A great source for David's work to purchase. 

Left: Exhibition of works by David Gil, Right: Trivet

Left: Another Lugged bowl, Right: Mr Salt and Mrs Pepper

Animal motif plates designed by David Gil

More plate designs by David Gil

Left: Trivet, Right: Snack bowl

I have to admit, prior to moving to the States several years ago, I did not know much about Bennington Pottery. Since styling in New York though it became apparent to me that the pieces I kept picking up in the Prop Houses was Bennington Pottery pieces from Vermont. With a palette largely of rich autumnal colors and deep teals, Bennington Pottery has always struck me with having a earthy, handmade quality with distinctive silhouettes that define the brand. With research I came to learn, Bennington Pottery's main player was a potter named David Gil

Bennington Potters was founded more than a half century ago by the young potter named David Gil. A graduate of Alfred University, which was renowned even then for its ceramics program, Gil relocated from New York City to Vermont beginning his life work there in 1948. Starting out in small barn with the business originally named Cooperative Design, In 1961 David Gil moved the business into a larger premises in Vermont where it still lives today and he re named it simply Bennington Potters. 

During his career, David distinguished himself as a designer with an ability to fuse contemporary forms with historic references, Although he valued handcraft and high aesthetic standards, he also embraced mechanization, Although largely an artist some forms were directly aimed at the commercial market. In 1953, Gil introduced the now very familiar "Trigger" mug with its double-loop handle and it became an instant best seller. He showed a sense of humor early on in his market wares, according to Franklin, "creating whimsical decorative work including Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper.

David and Bennington focused heavily on cooperative designs and while the company was steered by David Gil’s vision, Yusuke Aida, A Japanese potter designed many of the classic Bennington silhouettes in conjunction with David Gil from the period of 1961-1964. You can see this collaboration and Japanese influence in the designs that still look strikingly modern over 48 years later.

I still love and collect Bennington, many years later, Sadly David died in 2002 but he leaves a company still producing and greatly admired in Vermont and across the country.